By Maureen Coulter
Sept. 15, 2014
Chocolate lovers had the chance to fully indulge in everything chocolate Sept. 13 during a festival in the seaside community of Victoria.
This is the seventh year Island Chocolates hosted the event and organizers said they expected to see hundreds throughout the day.
The chocolate festival kicked off at 9 a.m. with a pancake breakfast served with blueberries and chocolate sauce followed by a How to Eat Chocolate lecture.
The afternoon was filled with numerous chocolate-related activities including chocolate therapy, a chocolate chess tournament and cupcake decorating for children.
It’s a really fun day said Emma Gilbert, who helps run the family-owned business.
“I like seeing all the kids, they really get into it.”
This was Chelsea Amelia of Kinkora’s second time attending the festival and she came mainly for the pancake breakfast with her family.
“It was really good.”
Amelia loves Victoria and describes the village as a very relaxed way of living.
“The people are very friendly and they are all very community-oriented. They are all pretty close. They are just friendly people I find.”
Gilbert said she feels the festival brings the community together and it’s a great way to celebrate their customers.
“It’s a very social occasion and we have a lot of support from the community which is amazing. They all make it a point to come out. Everyone kind of pitches in, we have all kinds of volunteers.”
Darren Ford of Emyvale said after hearing about the festival, his “non-professing chocoholic” children were pretty keen on making their way down to Victoria.
After the pancake breakfast, the Ford family decided to hang around to see what was happening in afternoon.
Ford’s children were also pretty interested in the chocolate therapy.
“They are trying to figure out what that might mean,” he said.
Most of the chocolate at Island Chocolates comes from Belgium, with some from France and Ecuador.
Gilbert’s brother, Eric, works every winter with the cocoa cooperative down in Ecuador, she said.
“He actually makes the chocolate from like the whole process from harvesting it and growing it- the whole thing so fermenting the beans and putting it into bark.”
Eventually, Island Chocolates would like to use more of the chocolate from Ecuador because it’s fair-trade and organic, but it’s a supply issue, she said.
“We go through a lot of chocolate,” laughed Gilbert.
The festival wrapped up with a chocolate and wine pairing at 6 p.m. with musical guest Matt Keenlyside performing at 7 p.m.